Trickster and the Honey

by Pat Smith Medina

retold by Richard L. Dieterle

Once when Trickster was walking about in the world, he came across Red Ant. Trickster said, "Red Ant, where are you going?" And Red Ant said, "I know where there is a lot of honey. There I shall go. If you will help me, I will let you have all you can eat," he said. "Ho!" said Trickster, and he thought to himself, "This one is very foolish. When I eat honey, I do not stop until it is all gone." Soon they reached the beehive there, and Red Ant said, "Trickster, all you have to do is stick your head in there, and you will find enough honey. I will be content with whatever is left. Just call for me when you have had enough," he said. "It is good," said Trickster. And Trickster ran up to the beehive and stuck his head right in. Soon he came back yelling, "Red Ant!" And he kept on running with all the bees chasing after him until he was completely out of sight. Then Red Ant went up and had all the honey he could ever want. "Trickster has been a big help indeed," he said, "and I'm sure he's had enough."1

Links: Trickster, Ants.

Stories: featuring Trickster as a character: The Trickster Cycle, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Trickster's Warpath, Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Trickster Soils the Princess, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Trickster Concludes His Mission, The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster, The Elk's Skull, Trickster and the Mothers, The Markings on the Moon, The Spirit of Gambling, The Woman who Became an Ant, The Green Man, The Red Man, Trickster Takes Little Fox for a Ride, Trickster Loses His Meal, Trickster's Tail, A Mink Tricks Trickster, Trickster's Penis, Trickster Loses Most of His Penis, The Scenting Contest, The Bungling Host, Mink Soils the Princess, Trickster and the Children, Trickster and the Eagle, Trickster and the Geese, Trickster and the Dancers, Trickster's Adventures in the Ocean, The Pointing Man, Trickster's Buffalo Hunt, Trickster Eats the Laxative Bulb, Trickster Visits His Family, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Petition to Earthmaker, Waruǧápara, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge; mentioning bees: The Shrewd Winnebagoes of Dixon's Crossing, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark; mentioning ants: Hare Kills a Man with a Cane, The Woman Who Became an Ant, The Markings on the Moon (v. 2).

Themes: a greedy person who wants far more than his share is punished by being left with nothing: The Markings on the Moon, The Greedy Woman, The Brown Squirrel; Trickster is the victim of a trick: Trickster Soils the Princess, The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster, The Baldness of the Buzzard, Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, Trickster Eats the Laxative Bulb, The Elk's Skull, A Mink Tricks Trickster, The Markings on the Moon, Trickster and the Eagle.


1 Pat Smith Medina, The Trickster and Red Ant, in David Lee Smith, Folklore of the Winnebago Tribe (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997) 36.